Why did ASX 200 coal shares have such a cracking Friday?

Group of smiling coal miners in a coal mine

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S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) coal shares were big winners on the market today.

ASX 200 coal shares Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC) and New Hope Corporation Ltd (ASX: NHC) were both trading well in the green, up 4.59% and 7.69% respectively at Friday’s close.

Yancoal Australia (ASX: YAL) also finished the week on a high note. The All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) player was trading 5.87% higher at the close of trade.

Let’s examine why ASX coal shares had such a top run on Friday.

Coal price optimism

According to trading economics, the coal price is up 0.24% to US$391.95 a tonne. As a company’s share price movement typically reflects its corresponding commodity’s price movement, this might be one reason for boosted investor sentiment towards ASX coal shares today.

Another could be that Whitehaven and Yancoal shared positive news in their quarterly reports released to the market this week.

Yancoal last night advised it achieved a 211% boost in the average realised coal price year to date.

Yancoal highlighted “record high coal prices” of $364 a tonne in the first nine months of 2022. The company achieved a $481 per tonne average realised coal price in the September quarter.

Commenting on the results, Yancoal CEO David Moult said:

The company will achieve a record financial performance in 2022 and this performance to date has enabled the payment of over A$1.6 billion in dividends in 2022 and debt repayments of US$2.3 billion over the past 12 months.

Whitehaven Coal also delivered good news on the coal price in its quarterly report, released this week.

Whitehaven reported a record average coal price of $581 a tonne in the third quarter, up from $514 a tonne in the last quarter. The average realised coal price has soared 207% from the $189 a tonne Whitehaven fetched in the prior corresponding period.

Whitehaven CEO and managing director Paul Flynn said:

With demand for high quality coal continuing to outstrip global supply, coal prices set another record in the September quarter and continue to be well supported.

Meanwhile, New Hope updated the market yesterday, advising it has received a water licence for stage three development at the New Acland coal mine in Queensland. New Hope said it now had all the primary approvals needed to restart operations at the mine.

New Hope chair Robert Millner described the grant of this licence as a “defining moment for the company”.

Share price snapshot

It’s certainly been a boom period for ASX coal shares this year. Whitehaven shares have exploded 252% in the past 12 months, while New Hope shares have soared 216%. Yancoal shares have leapt 78% in the past year.

In comparison, the ASX 200 has lost almost 10% in the last year.

Why did ASX 200 coal shares have such a cracking Friday?